#4 Middlebury Cruises Past Wesleyan, 3-0

Janka Hlinka tallied her third goal of the season in Friday's win over Wesleyan (Will Costello)
Janka Hlinka tallied her third goal of the season in Friday's win over Wesleyan (Will Costello)

Middlebury extended its NESCAC unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1), as the Panthers netted a 3-0 win over Wesleyan on Friday in Kenyon Arena. Fourth-ranked Middlebury (13-4-1, 9-1-1) and the Cardinals (5-10-4, 1-6-4) conclude their two-game series Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

The hosts took advantage of a power play in the opening 10 minutes of the contest, grabbing a 1-0 lead. Jessica Young wired a shot from the left circle into the upper-right corner of the net at the 7:02 mark for her team-leading 11th goal of the season. On the next shift, the Panthers almost doubled their lead, when Sidney Portner put a shot off the cross bar that dropped down to the ice, but never went over the goal line. Wesleyan had a chance to tie the contest in the final minute, as Cici Frattasio had a breakaway, but Panther goalie Julia Neuburger stopped the rising shot with her mask.

Middlebury carried play in the second stanza, but Cardinal goalie Allegra Grant stopped all 13 shots she saw. She also got some help from the right post on a Haley LaFontaine shot at the blue line when the Panthers were on a power play.

In the third period, the Panthers tacked on two more goals, as Janka Hlinka was the beneficiary of a spin-o-rama pass from Maddie Winslow with 8:15 expired. Winslow passed the puck across the slot as she spun in the right circle, with Hlinka burying the offering into an empty net from the left side. Portner closed out the scoring 1:17 later with a shot from the right circle after a Wesleyan turnover in the neutral zone.

Neuburger stopped all 15 shots she faced in the game for her third shutout in five starts. Grant was stellar for Wesleyan with 50 stops, as the hosts held a wide 53-15 margin in shots. Middlebury finished 1-5 on the power play and the Cardinal came up empty in three opportunities.

Eight of Middlebury's 13 victories this season have come via the shutout.